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Football preview: Bobcats (0-2) looks to regain upper hand at home vs. Williams (0-2)

Quarterback Sandy Plashkes makes his first start in front of the home crowd at Garcelon Field this Saturday, Oct. 8 against Williams. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Williams College football team travels to Bates College this Saturday, Oct. 8, as part of Back to Bates Weekend, with the Ephs and Bobcats kicking off at 1pm in their 29th ever meeting on the football field.

Both teams are winless thus far: the Ephs are playing their first road game after falling 9-7 to Colby and 38-13 to Trinity. Bates plays its home opener following a 38-7 loss at Trinity in Week 1 and a 12-7 loss at Tufts last Saturday.

Williams has been slow out of the gate with a first-year head coach, Mark Raymond, leading a young squad. Eleven of Williams' 22 starters this weekend are sophomores or first-year students.

As for Bates, the Bobcats have been good defensively, save for the second half of the Trinity game, while the offense is searching for traction. Bates is third in the conference in rushing offense (382 yards) but last in passing (66 yards total). 

The Particulars:

What: Williams (0-2) at Bates (0-2)

When: Saturday, October 8, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)

Follow the Game Live: Stats Video

All-Time Series: Williams leads 23-5.

Williams Last Week

In a game that saw one offense firing on all cylinders while the other looked to find its legs, undefeated Trinity handed Williams its second loss of the season by a score of 38-13. The win is Trinity's sixth straight over the Ephs.

Williams struggled mightily to contain the Bantam offensive attack: Trinity registered 517 total yards, averaging almost eight yards per play. The Eph offense, meanwhile, struggled to get into gear; first-year QB Jansen Durham was sacked eight times and threw two interceptions in the face of intense pressure from the Bantam defensive front.

Each of Trinity's first three drives ended in points, opening with a 20-yard Eric Sachse field goal, followed by two consecutive touchdown drives. The first, ending in a 21-yard pass from QB Sonny Puzzo to Darrien Myers, featured a massive 69-yard keeper by Puzzo to put the Bantams in scoring position. The second touchdown,  a two-yard run by Max Chipouras, followed an interception by Spencer Donahue.

Durham went 24-37 for 200 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to his two interceptions. On the ground, Bantam rusher Max Chipouras notched 165 yards on 21 carries, while Connor Harris led the Ephs with 28 yards on 10 rushes. Harris also led Williams in receiving yards with 61, with help from Adam Regensburg's 54 yards on eight catches.

Bates Last Week

Senior captain Mark Upton tallied a career-high 17 tackles but Tufts scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to edge Bates 12-7 Saturday in Somerville, Mass.

Of the 17 tackles recorded by Upton, 11 were solo efforts with four tackles for loss and a sack mixed in as well. Just days after he was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William V. Campbell Trophy for scholar-athletes, Upton was also named NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts Saturday.

In rainy conditions at Ellis Oval, both teams kept the ball on the ground, with Bates (0-2) rushing for 188 yards and Tufts (2-0) accumulating 206 rushing yards. Meanwhile the Bobcats only completed one pass for 30 yards, a touchdown pass from Sandy Plashkes to Brian Daly. The Jumbos didn't do much more through the air, completing seven passes for 44 yards. The teams punted a combined 23 times on the day. 

Tufts recorded 15 first downs on the day while Bates only netted nine. Third down was an issue for the Bobcats as they finished 3-20 on third down conversion attempts.

Mickoy Nichol led Bates in rushing with nine carries for 51 yards. Peter Boyer toughed out 45 yards on 15 carries and Frank Williams ran six times for 33 yards. Plashkes ran 15 times for 30 yards at the quarterback position. 

Chance Brady was the offensive star of the game, carrying the ball 32 times for 140 yards for Tufts while Ryan McDonald came off the bench to play quarterback and netted 11 carries for 75 yards, including the game-winning score, a 15-yard run with 9:04 left in the fourth quarter.

Bates/Williams Last Meeting: 

Bates lost in a nailbiter for the second week in a row on Oct. 10, 2015, falling 16-14 at Williams as the host Ephs defeated the Bobcats for the first time in five meetings.

Williams quarterback Austin Lommen threw 47 times and completed 31 for 309 yards and a touchdown, to go with two interceptions. Williams outgained Bates in total offense 355 to 298. 

Bates rushed for 232 yards on 57 attempts, but passed for only 66 total. Quarterback Patrick Dugan completed just 1 of 14 passes for 33 yards, but rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 16 attempts. He was one of four Bates backs to rush for 44 yards or more, with Frank Williams picking up 54 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, Ivan Reese running for 50 yards and a TD on 14 carries, and Mickoy Nichol gaining 44 yards on eight carries.

For the second straight week, turnovers cost Bates dearly, as they fumbled six times and lost two. The game also included 16 penalties, including six unsportsmanlike conduct flags. Nine penalties were called on Bates, costing the Bobcats 90 yards.